Ten To-Do's for Young People to Consider

CJ Westerberg, December 16, 2014 6:10 PM


"Study yourself like a bug".
Non-judgmental empirical observations
- by you and loved ones -
about what you are passionate about . . ."
                               - Jim Collins, author, Good To Great

Favorite VIDEO Below
by C.J. Westerberg

I've always been profoundly interested in the convergence of various silos or sectors, such as business, culture, tech, politics and education.  The Daily Riff has been a filter (aka "curator" or "lens") of the many influences upon education.

I've been surrounded by the words of Peter Drucker, one of the most widely quoted and influential thinkers and writers on leadership and management,  for many years in my business life but never really thought of his work as it may relate to education.  Recently, I found this You Tube video, featured below, which is a keynote tribute of Drucker by Jim Collins, author of bestselling classic books, such as "Built to Last."  Collins places Drucker's influence and impact on the level of a Winston Churchill so if you are unfamiliar with Drucker, it's worth a visit.
Knowledge has to be improved, challenged,
and increased constantly,

or it vanishes.
    - Peter Drucker

The video runs under an hour and offers numerous gems, such as, "The best students are those who never quite believe their professors."  I have
to revisit Drucker's work within a new context since it resonates more than ever, especially with our culture reflecting so many institutions that are
bereft of values, since Drucker was more about doing the right thing, not about doing things right (see more background info on Drucker below). 

While Collins is channeling Drucker principles, one can't tell what is pure Collins or Drucker-inspired (although Collins identifies Drucker as a mentor and one of his "Personal Board of Directors"), especially with this top ten list, which is both entertaining and thought-provoking.

Ten To-Do's for Young People to Consider (at the 47:00 mark)

1)   Build a Personal Board of Directors - selected not for their accomplishments but for their character.  They don't need to know they are on your personal BOD.

    2)   Please turn off your electronic gadgets. Not for others, but for yourself. Give yourself time to reflect. Effective people take time to think. Begin the discipline of putting white space on your calendar.

    3)   A great time to work on your (3) circles. Study yourself like a bug. Non-judgmental empirical observations (you and loved ones) about what you are passionate about, genetically encoded for, and where you can be useful.  Don't judge like "this bug should be better at math."  And get observations from people who know you and love you.

               Three circles (Hedgehog principle) - you put your energy in the middle of three:

                * What you are passionate about and love to do and what you stand for
                * What you can be the best at - the difference between what you're good at and what you are genetically encoded for
                * What drives your economic engine - "I'm useful"- positions of real contribution and value

    4)   What is your questions-to-statements ratio and can you double it?  Channel your time not being interesting but how to be interested;  how to ask questions, how to learn from everyone you meet.

    5)   If you woke tomorrow morning and discovered you inherited $20 million, and had discovered you also had terminal disease with 10 years to live, what would be on your stop-doing list?

    6)   Start your stop-doing list.  How many have a to-do list?  How many have a stop-doing list?  Think about not what you've done, but what you've stopped doing. The real task is always clear what not to do. 

    7)   Unplug the opportunities that distract you.  Just because it is a once- in- a- lifetime opportunity doesn't mean it is right for you. There will be always once- in- a- lifetime opportunity.

    8)   Find something with which you have so much passion, that you are willing to endure the pain (
Ed. Note: sounds like deliberate practice and effort).

    9)   This is a great time of life to articulate the values you will not compromise.

    10)  Prepare for a life that you are 1/3 through your work at age 65.

Let us know what you think --
Video Below

For those who want to know more about Drucker's contributions, here is an excerpt from  Business Week's, "The Man Who Invented Management,": :

--It was Drucker who introduced the idea of decentralization -- in the 1940s which became a bedrock principle for virtually every large organization in the world.

-- He was the first to assert -- in the 1950s -- that workers should be treated as assets, not as liabilities to be eliminated.

-- He originated the view of the corporation as a human community -- again, in the 1950s -- built on trust and respect for the worker and not just a profit-making machine, a perspective that won Drucker an almost godlike reverence among the Japanese.

-- He argued in the 1960s -- long before others -- for the importance of substance over style, for institutionalized practices over charismatic, cult leaders.

-- And it was Drucker again who wrote about the contribution of knowledge workers -- in the 1970s -- long before anyone knew or understood how knowledge would trump raw material as the essential capital of the New Economy.

Drucker made observation his life's work, gleaning deceptively simple ideas that often elicited startling results. Shortly after Welch became CEO of General Electric in 1981, for example, he sat down with Drucker at the company's New York headquarters. Drucker posed two questions that arguably changed the course of Welch's tenure: "If you weren't already in a business, would you enter it today?" he asked. "And if the answer is no, what are you going to do about it?"  (snip)

Drucker's work at GE is instructive. It was never his style to bring CEOs clear, concise answers to their problems but rather to frame the questions that could uncover the larger issues standing in the way of performance. "My job," he once lectured a consulting client, "is to ask questions. It's your job to provide answers." Says Dan Lufkin, a co-founder of investment banking firm Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette Inc., who often consulted with Drucker in the 1960s: "He would never give you an answer. That was frustrating for a while. But while it required a little more brain matter, it was enormously helpful to us. After you spent time with him, you really admired him not only for the quality of his thinking but for his foresight, which was amazing. He
was way ahead of the curve on major trends."

Originally published The Daily Riff August 2011

  • Thanks for the great points that you have made! We have been using technology so much these days in each and every domain of our lives, be it education or the regular household work, that have we ever taken out a second to wonder if it’s leaving a positive impact on our work or it’s just that we have been relying too much on it that we’ve become habitual to it, ignoring the direction of its impact?

  • johngschroeder

    I'll start with Stephen Colbert, J.K. Rowling, and my friend Adam for my board of directors. I'll have to make up some sort of certificate to mail them.

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